Rep Youngblood Accounts for Ebola Money

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Following intense criticisms and constant calls from some residents of Montserrado County District #9 to account for monies received during the Ebola crisis of 2014/15, Rep. Munah Pelham Youngblood has given details on monies received and expended, and on what remains.

In a report prepared and submitted to her by members of the district’s Anti-Ebola Taskforce, Representative Youngblood said she and the group innovatively solicited the funds from individuals and institutions, and expended it in line with demands at the time.

The District #9 Representative disclosed that a total of US$7,600 and L$146,000 was generated from individuals including Montserrado Superintendent Florence Brandy, who donated US$5,000; Egyptian Ambassador Samah Latfi, US$100; Dr. J. Mills Jones, US$1,000; Representative and former Speaker Alex Tyler, US$500; National Social Security & Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) Director Dewitt von Ballmoos, US$1,000; Information Minister Eugene Nagbe, L$15,000; and Monrovia City Mayor Clara Doe Mvogo, L$5,000.

Institutions that also contributed included the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) Legislative Caucus, L$10,000; Ministry of Youth & Sports, L$40,000; CDC District #9 Leadership, L$25,000; Mutual Benefit Assurance, L$25,000; Access Bank, L$21,000; and Monrovia City Corporation, L$5,000.

Others that contributed in kind are Tarpeh of Liberia Domestic Airport Authority, who gave a US$20 gas slip; and Lucky Pharmacy, which donated 1 carton of glucose, 1 carton of cetilab (400 pieces), 1carton (10 pieces of drips), and 2 cartons of powder soap.

Breaking down the expenditure made during the crisis, Representative Youngblood outlined them as follows: Refreshments on the day of launching, US$120; transportation paid on October 10, 2014, L$1,000; transportation for a two-week tour from October 6 to 22, 2014, US$2,492; transportation for a two-week anti-Ebola tour from October 22 to November 3, 2014, US$2,085; another transportation for a two-week tour from November 19 to December 3, 2014, US$2,100; the production of copies of the report, L$19,500; and MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) workshop, where 45 persons represented the district, L$11,500.

From the expenditure, the Representative disclosed that a total of L$32,000 and US$6,797 was spent. The balance or remainder of the money disclosed in a town hall meeting on April 16, 2017 was US$803 and L$109,000.

Commenting on criticisms and speculations that emanated from the demands for disclosure, Representative Youngblood said the work started fine and everyone did their best to fight the disease, “but politics is dividing us, and I will not want to discredit anyone regardless of our political differences.”

Following the report, the majority of residents that attended the meeting suggested that the remainder of the money should be used to honor members of the taskforce who “risked” their lives during the health crisis.

“Since you have heard the report, know the remaining amount and decided to use it as voted upon, we will do as per your decision. I am thankful that I was not caught in a political trap in this critical political season,” added Representative Youngblood.

The head of the District Development Council, Larry Zarwolo, said the gathering was expedient because a large number of residents attended and were able to understand how the donated monies were used.

He said the discussion will dispel rumors and speculations that sometimes bring hateful feelings and suspicion in people.

Meanwhile, the lack of accountability for monies raised during the Ebola crisis has raised suspicion in many quarters. It may be recalled that the people of District #9 in Montserrado County have been calling on their Representative, Acarus Gray, to account for monies the district received during the outbreak of Ebola in Liberia.

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